A British primary school teacher has been fired after she told a group of Jewish students that they would be sent to the “gas chambers” if they failed to finish their work on time.
The Daily Mail reported that the incident took place at Newberries Primary School in Radlett, Hertfordshire, which has a large Jewish community. Eleven of the teacher’s students were Jewish.
The teacher reportedly told the class last Thursday, “You better finish off your work quick, or I’ll ship you all off to the gas chambers.”
She then said that she was “joking” and asked the students not to reveal what she had said to anyone.
The news quickly spread among students and parents, however, and, after widespread protests, the school fired the teacher the next day.
A spokesman for the school said on Tuesday, “We can confirm that last week we were made aware that an alleged racist comment had been made by an agency teacher working within the school.”
“We acted on this immediately and our governors and leadership team are undertaking a full investigation,” he added. “The agency teacher will not be returning.”
Speaking anonymously, one parent said the school had reacted well to the incident.
“To the credit of the school they made it clear they wanted to deal with the situation without delay,” the parent said.
“They did not seek to dispute the suggestion that the teacher had made the reference to ‘gas chambers,’” the parent added. “The fact that the woman was sacked the following day says everything you need to know.”
The school issued a newsletter after the firing, saying, “This year we are asking particularly for the focus to be on strengthening the important messages of religious tolerance and respect.”